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Swift Thinking: Winter 2017

Planning for Spring 2017

A table showing our course offerings for Spring 2017 is available online. The table includes information on meeting days and times. In addition, it indicates which major and minor requirements each course can fulfill, whether a course is available for pre-registration, and whether you need permission to enroll.

Please check this table and the Registrar's website for updates.

Pre-registering for Spring Courses

The psychology department will offer pre-registration through CAESAR for most of our Spring Quarter courses the week prior to regular registration. All students listed as psychology, cognitive science or neuroscience majors or minors in the Registrar's system should be able to pre-register through CAESAR for these courses. The only courses not available for pre-registration for Spring Quarter are the PSYCH 397/398/399 research courses.

Pre-registration times are announced by the Registrar's Office. Students can pre-register for a maximum of two courses at this time.

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. If a course you want to take has closed, use the electronic wait list function on CAESAR. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students to enroll.

Wait lists will be monitored until the last business day before classes begin. Students will then need approval from instructors to be added to the course during the first week of the course.

Registering for PSYCH 205-Research Methods

Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in psychology, cognitive science, or music cognition may pre-register for PSYCH 205. Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite or an allowed substitution before you enroll. You may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter. Your records will be evaluated for this requirement and you will be asked to drop the course if you have not completed it. Once regular registration begins, any student with the prerequisite may enroll.

Research Courses Requiring Department and Instructor Permission

PSYCH 397-1, 397-2, 398-1, and 399

A great way to learn more about psychological research is to become actively involved in research activities through the two-quarter PSYCH 397-Advanced Supervised Research series or PSYCH 399-Independent Study. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well.

PSYCH 397 and 399

These independent study courses fulfill the upper-level research requirement for the psychology major. You can count at most 1 quarter of 397-1 or 399 toward the major. You cannot count both courses. PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for PSYCH 397. For more information on 397 and 399, including the differences between them, how they count towards requirements, and tips on finding a research adviser, see our webpage on “Research for Course Credit.”

To enroll in PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399, download the application, fill it out, and have it signed by the professor with whom you will be working. Then, take the signed application to the department main office, Swift 102, and a student-specific permission number will be generated. Please note that you must turn in your application and register for the course through CAESAR before the last day to add a class for Spring Quarter, which is Friday, March 31, 2017.

**Any application turned in on the last day is not guaranteed a permission number by the registration deadline and will therefore need approval from the Dean’s Office.**

PSYCH 398-Senior Honors Seminar

Students who will be taking PSYCH 398-Senior Honors Seminar next quarter will also need permission to enroll. The course will be set up in CAESAR so that only those on the list provided by Dr. Sandra Waxman, the Honors Coordinator, will be able to register for the course.

Special Courses for Spring Quarter 2017

In Spring 2017, the Psychology Department will be offering two sections of PSYCH 314-Special Topics, one section of PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology and one section of PSYCH 358-Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience. The topics and course descriptions for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites, are listed below.

PSYCH 314: Special Topics: Buddhist Psychology

Marcia Grabowecky

In this seminar we will examine the nature of the mind from both Buddhist and traditional Western psychological perspectives. We will employ a Buddhist technique for investigating mental activity by incorporating a brief meditation period into class and homework activities. We will also examine written materials from both traditions, and these will form the primary basis for class discussion and examinations. By the end of the class the student will be expected to have a strong understanding of the relationship between the Buddhist Psychological framework and the related current theories from scientific Psychology.
Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.

PSYCH 314: Special Topics: Psychology and Weird Beliefs

Sara Broaders

Lots of people have beliefs that other people think are just plain weird. Why do people have these beliefs? We'll look at "weird" beliefs within our culture as well as some cross-cultural examples, and try to understand what leads people to develop and maintain these beliefs. Another issue is that one person's "weird" belief may be another person's firmly held conviction. From this perspective, we'll also try to understand which beliefs are rational. Among the topics we may cover are: superstition, parapsychology, ghosts, witchcraft, alien abduction, evolution vs. creationism, repressed memories of abuse, and dissociative identity disorder. Students will use a wide variety of academic and popular media resources (including empirical research articles, ethnographic descriptions, philosophical arguments, popular press books, and documentary films) to explore the bases for these beliefs and practices. Prerequisite: Psych 110 Students who have taken the First-Year Seminar on this topic may NOT take this course.

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personal, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Scientific Controversies in Social Psychology

Galen Bodenhausen

This is an advanced social psychology course designed to examine a variety of controversial topics in social psychology. Topics to be addressed include: Is there really such a thing as unconscious racism? Are stereotypes accurate? Does high self-esteem cause a variety of social problems? Are positive illusions about oneself beneficial or harmful? Is subliminal persuasion real? Are video games harmful to individuals and to society? Is parapsychology at all legitimate? Exploration of questions like these will form the basis for our class meetings.
Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Psych 358: Adv. Seminar in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience: Mind and Communication

William Horton

A critical aspect of social interaction is the capacity to reason about the mental states of others, and also to understand that other people have beliefs and knowledge that are different from your own. This capacity influences not only how we interpret what other people say and do, but also how we communicate our own thoughts and desires. In this research seminar, we will read and discuss a selection of original theoretical and empirical literature related to perspective-taking and communication. These readings will cover topics such as: when and how young children acquire an understanding of others' minds, evidence for failures of perspective-taking in adult communication, and the role that "mirror neurons" may play in human interaction. There will be 2-3 readings each week. Students will be expected to prepare brief responses to each set of readings and to participate in class discussions. The bulk of the course grade will be based on a final research paper.
Prerequisite: PSYCH 205, 228

The Senior Honors Program

Each Spring, select juniors with outstanding records in psychology are invited into to apply for the Psychology Honors Program. Each student in the program participates in a special honors seminar and conducts a year-long research project under the guidance of a faculty member. The project culminates in the preparation of a senior thesis. Students who fulfill all of the requirements for the Honors Program are recommended to Weinberg College for graduation with Honors in Psychology. (Final decisions are made at the College level.)

Students interested in participating in the Honors Program next year will need to submit formal applications this Spring Quarter. At this point, prospective Honors Program candidates should be thinking about who their thesis adviser may be. Updated information on this program, including details on how to apply, will be posted on our website under the Honors in Psychology link. The deadline for applying is April 7, 2017.

Graduation Petitions

All Northwestern undergraduates are to complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date. The latest to submit your petition is two quarters before you anticipate graduating (e.g., by the end of this Winter quarter if you expect to graduate in Summer 2017, and during Spring quarter if you expect to graduate in Fall 2017). If it’s time to do your Graduation Petition, set up an appointment with an adviser via email at or Jeanette Jennings in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190). Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Degree Progress report to the meeting.

Completing your Graduation Petition on time ensures you are on appropriate graduation lists and that you, your adviser, and the Registrar’s Office agree on what requirements you have left to complete. It also provides an opportunity to talk about your experiences in the department thus far and your plans for the coming year and beyond.

You can read more about the petition process and access petition forms on the Registrar’s website. A good place to start is the Registrar's Graduation Page.

Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA) News

We hope everyone is keeping warm this winter as we head into Week 6 of the quarter! Earlier in January, we started off the quarter with an information session about how to get involved in research opportunities. There were representatives from the Office of Undergraduate Research, Office of Fellowships, and NU Library. This was a great chance for students to get all of their questions answered about how to develop their own research project and apply for grants.We also have been busy working on a long term project to bring a guest lecturer to Northwestern to speak with our fellow students. More to come on this exciting opportunity in the future!

Later on in the quarter we will begin our coffee chats, which is a time for general members to get to know the current exec board and find out how to become more involved within the organization. Students can submit a general description of their background and any questions they may have, and we pair you up with an exec member who can best answer those questions over a free cup of coffee. Also, UPA will be holding elections for the new exec board at the end of this quarter, so coffee chats are a great way to get more involved with UPA. Be on the look-out for emails with more information on these events and winter elections!

Please feel free to check us out at for more information and be sure to like our UPA Facebook Page (NU Undergraduate Psychology Association). If you would like to be added to the UPA list-serve and stay up to date on all things psychology at NU, simply send an e-mail to If you have any suggestions, comments, and/or questions, feel free to contact us. We look forward to a great quarter with you! – Patsy Castro, UPA President 2016-2017

University Resources for Students Interested in Research

Are you thinking about doing an internship an area that interests you? Many psychology students do internships for academic credit through Northwestern’s Chicago Field Studies program. Internships are available with a wide range of Chicago-area businesses and organizations—organizations focused on mental health, education, and other social services, legal and environmental organizations, financial services, health clinics, start-ups, and market research groups, among others. For more on options for psychology students, including a list of sites where psychology students have interned, see our webpage on Internships and Volunteering.

Getting practical, hands-on experience in fields you consider intriguing can help you discover links between your academic studies and real-world issues. It is a good way to learn more about which career paths might be best for you. In addition, it can become a valuable credential when you apply for a job or for graduate study. Keep in mind that many work experiences not labeled as “internships” provide similar opportunities and benefits. See our webpage on Internships and Volunteering for more information and ideas.

Also, check out Northwestern’s Office of Undergraduate Research website for all undergraduates interested in, or just thinking about, research. This site addresses such topics as how to get involved in research, how to find opportunities throughout the university, outlets for presenting research findings, and more. It includes information on proposal writing, as well as examples of successful student proposals from recent years.

Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Research Grants (URG) Program

URG offers Academic Year Grants (up to $1000) and Summer Grants ($3500) to undergraduates pursuing independent research projects. The remaining deadlines for 2017 are Tuesday, February 14th (for Academic Year Grants) and Friday, March 10th (for Summer Grants). More information is available at Office of Undergraduate Research. Under faculty supervision, URG winners immerse themselves in novel scholarly projects in the laboratory, the library, or the studio, on campus and around the world. All undergraduate students are eligible for these grants. For more information on summer funding, see the next article in this newsletter.

Awards for Undergraduates

The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award

The Psychology Department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Undergraduate Travel Award provides funds to students who are majoring in psychology to support them in presenting their work at conferences. The money can be used to pay for conference fees and travel expenses.

Preference will go to students who are listed as first author on the presentation. Applications will be considered on a “rolling” basis. Please submit your applications via e-mail to Professor Sara Broaders, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at s- Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, include the following information:

Class (e.g., sophomore, junior, senior)
Name of conference
Conference location
Dates of conference
Title of presentation
Author/s on presentation (in order)
Abstract of conference presentation (250 words or less)

In addition to providing this information, please ask your faculty sponsor to write a brief letter of recommendation describing your role in the research. This letter can be emailed to Professor Broaders as well. Please inform your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Funds for Summer Research

It's not too soon to start thinking about summer – and about the possibility of spending your summer doing research in our department. Each year the Psychology Department offers two or more undergraduates a Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship. Professor Underwood was chair of the Psychology department and a distinguished researcher in the field of memory. He worked to establish the fund that makes these fellowships possible.

Acceptance of an Underwood Fellowship implies a commitment to spend most of your summer working on research here at Northwestern with a Psychology professor. Your exact schedule will be worked out with the professor who supervises your research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award. However, priority will be given to current juniors. Work on an Underwood project often serves as the foundation for a senior honors project. (Receipt of an Underwood fellowship does not guarantee acceptance to our Honors program.)

If you are interested in doing research this coming summer, you should look into other funding sources, too. All Underwood applicants should also apply for a Northwestern University Summer Research Grant from the Provost’s Office. Weinberg College also offers funds for summer research by students. Different funding sources have different selection criteria, and applying to more than one will enhance your chances of receiving an award.

To apply for an Underwood Fellowship, follow these steps:

Get your application and letter of support to Sara Broaders at by Friday, March 10, 2017. This is also the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the University's Undergraduate Research Grants Committee.


All declared psychology major and minor students are added to our new Canvas course site. Here, you can find jobs, research opportunities and graduate school information. Announcements for on-campus or department-hosted events will be posted here as well. Please check back frequently to stay up to date on NU Psychology news.

If you are declared Psychology major or minor student and have not been added to the Canvas site please contact

The Psychology Department Welcomes Two New Faculty Members:
Professors Sylvia Perry & Onnie Rogers

Professors Sylvia Perry and Onnie Rogers are joining the department after our national search for new faculty members in the area of diversity science. Diversity scientists examine variations in psychological functioning across diverse social groups such as those related to gender, culture, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and they seek to extend psychological science to understudied populations. Perry and Rogers are conducting exciting research in this broad domain.

Sylvia Perry is a social psychologist who received her PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. She is joining the department as a member of the Social Psychology program and the Personality and Health program. One of her main research interests is implicit intergroup bias. She investigates when and why majority-group members become aware of their own implicit biases toward other social groups, and the consequences of this awareness. She is also part of a team conducting an ambitious longitudinal study of medical students, including an exploration of the nature and impact of implicit racial biases and racial climate in medical school settings. Professor Perry also has affiliations with the Northwestern Department of Medical Social Sciences and the Institute for Policy Research. Sylvia Perry's Psychology Faculty Page

Onnie Rogers is a developmental psychologist who received her PhD at New York University and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. She is joining the department as a member of the Personality and Health program and the Social Psychology program. She studies identity development in childhood. She employs qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate how kids make sense of being a member of particular racial and gender groups, and how their developing identities relate to their educational outcomes and general well-being. Professor Rogers is also a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. As an undergraduate at UCLA, she was a national champion gymnast and was recently inducted in the UCLA Hall of Fame. Onnie Rogers' Psychology Faculty Page

Swift Thinking Winter 2017 PDF

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